Squash and Rice Casserole

This is oneof my very favorite dishes.  I can hardly believe I haven’t made it in the last 18 months or so – or at least I didn’t write about it.  This is another one of those dishes that has a million variations and I make it slightly differently every time.  Eventually I’ll get it exactly right.  Of course I don’t write anything down so I won’t be able to duplicate it!

My quest is to make a version that has the highest squash to rice ratio, but still holds together.  I also try to make changes that prevent the guilt that comes from eating most casseroles.  I’ve made the change from white rice to brown and I actually prefer it this way.  I’ve cut the sour cream by half.  And I’ve discovered that if you use a very flavorful cheese you can use less of it.  I’ve also added chicken to this to make it a one dish meal.  You could up the protein content with tofu as well I imagine.  Frankly, it’s usually a one dish meal for me anyway because then I can have more of it, but it’s just as good alongside chicken or pork chops.

I usually make this at dinner time so everything is hot when it goes in the casserole dish and it only bakes about 15 minutes to cook it through.  Today I was up early so I put it together this morning and put it in the fridge.  I baked it for about 40 minutes because it was just out of the fridge.  Another way to get ahead a little bit is to double the amount of brown rice you make for a meal earlier in the week and use the extra for this.  Ditto with squash and onions if those are a regular Summer side dish at your house.  The flavor is just as yummy whether you make it ahead or do it at dinner time.  And the leftovers are fantastic.

Good? YUM!
Easy? Yep.
Good for company? Sure, perfect for a Sunday dinner.
Special shopping? Nope.

Squash and Rice Casserole

Ingredients

1 T olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced
3-4 squash, yellow or zucchini or both, sliced into rounds
1 C cooked brown rice
1/2 C sour cream
1/2 C sharp cheddar, shredded
1 egg, beaten
1/4 C, breadcrumbs, plus more for the topping
salt and pepper
grated parmesan, optional

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet. Cook squash and onions until they soften.
In a large bowl combine rice, squash, onions, sour cream and breadcrumbs. Add egg and cheddar. Stir until combined.
Pour mixture into a baking dish (8×8 or a round Pyrex).
Sprinkle the top with more bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees until the topping is golden brown. Approximately 15 minutes if mixture is already warm. Allow 35-40 minutes if the dish has been refrigerated prior to baking. Let it sit 5 minutes or so before serving to firm up.

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